March 31, 2008
Monday March 31st, 1969
This morning I shampooed my hair and tried to prepare for my speech tonight by reading my diaries that I kept while in Africa. Dean Buchannon and his wife came by to see us. They told us that they had contacted the F.M.B. about going as missionaries. M.G. and I both had talked how we felt they were interested. A little boy from South Clinton called that he had found Alan’s glove which he left at the ball field yesterday. I gave him a carved lion for a reward. Tonight I spoke at the Associational W.M.U. at Andersonville. Saw lots of friends.
I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree. Mom used her diaries to prepare for a speech and now some 38 years later those very words are immortalized on the World Wide Web! Mom, like me realized that the weakest ink is stronger than the strongest memory. As a matter of fact the only thing that might last longer than the written word is the life that is changed by the spoken word.
You could almost hear the excitement in Mom’s voice when she talked about the Buchannon’s and their call to missions. Mom and Dad knew that the only way for Christ to be spread throughout this earth is let the Lord equip ordinary people with extraordinary talents.
So often when I hear people talk about missionaries they think that they are endowed with marvelous powers that enable them to wonderful things. After reading Mom’s words we find just the opposite is true. The power to do the miraculous comes from the Spirit that dwells within us.
Today a little boy received a heartfelt reward from a missionary lady. Who knows but that that small gift started a chain of events that formed and shaped lives for years to come? Who have you affected today? And more importantly who have you let Christ affect through you?
March 29, 2008
Tuesday March 30th, 1982
This morning we went over to Court South for our exercises. Then we came home and got ready to go to Bonny Kate School where we had two sessions of showing our slides and curios. While there we learned that Corky Maner, who is Andrea’s aunt, teaches there. She came out to the car where we were waiting for Jane Rule who had contacted us about speaking. We ate lunch there. They had pizza. After we finished speaking, we took Ken’s laundry by the BSU. He was not there so we just left them. We got gas for the car and had it washed while in the U.T. area. Tonight we went to C-N-C to see Jeff play football. We met Mary Nell, B.J., Jenny, and Helen Mouser in Jefferson City at a little hoagie eating place. Jeff’s team lost 33 to 0. We saw the Daniels and Cagles at the ballgame.
After greeting the morning with some heart pumping calisthenics Mom and Dad went on the do the thing that really brought them joy. Because Dad and Mom were from Tennessee and also gave such a good presentation they were given an open door into many of the local schools in during our trips home. As a missionary kid I have been too many a boring gathering where the speaker, a missionary, would almost put you to sleep. My folks were not of this ilk. While other presenters were hesitant about letting you get to close to their wares Dad and Mom encouraged everybody young and old to touch, smell, and hold pretty much any curio we had. Dad told me later when I mentioned something about his presentation style being different that the decision to let people interact with our discussions was made while he was a young man. I do know that my folks had one of the best if not the best discourse on mission activities that I have ever heard or seen. I realize my opinion might be a little slanted but then again this is my blog.
My cousin played football at Carson Newman and evidently they did not have a good showing this evening. Mom and Dad just enjoyed being with friends and family for the night.
March 29, 2008
Wednesday March 29th, 1967
This morning I shampooed my hair again. Too we enjoyed some more spinach for lunch. Ken didn’t feel up to going to school today so I let him stay home. This afternoon we went down to the Milligan’s house and bought 79 shillings worth of their records that they are selling. Saw in today’s paper that the Nairobi snake park had gotten some boa-constructors, five rattlesnakes, and a king snake in exchange for some cobras from here.
I can’t say for sure, but I am pretty positive I did not skip school today to have spinach for lunch. It is funny how your tastes change as you get a few years under your belt. Just yesterday I enjoyed a salad that was half spinach and a few days before that even ordered spinach at one of my favorite restaurants.
It seems this week was the week for “horse tradin” Mom and Dad find some deals at the neighbor’s yard sale and country music lives eternally at the Duncan household.
We also had our share of snakes in Mombasa but I daresay if we were to trade them for something it would not be more snakes. One of the things these diary posts do for me is bringing to mind stories that molded my childhood. In Mombasa one afternoon while we were playing outside I noticed a green snake beside Alan’s foot. I told him it was there and after he looked down and saw it (he did not believe me at first) after he jumped away both of us decided we needed to dispatch the serpent. The only handy weapon was a large rock close by so we set about stoning the reptile. Once we finally sent him on to his final resting place we decided to ask our helper if he knew what type of scaly creature we had slain. To his horror and our surprise we found out it was a green mamba one of the most venomous snakes on the planet. God truly protects fools and kids. (This time he got two for the price of one.)
March 28, 2008
Saturday March 28th, 1970
This morning M.G. and I went to Westlands to do a bit of shopping. Phil and Ken stayed here and played. After lunch we took Phil home, picked up Alan, and went by the hospital to see Miller. Barbara rode home with us for she was going to ride to Limuru with M.G. and the journey girls. He was going to the G.A.-Father banquet. It was a very bad rainy night for driving. M.G. heard while he was out that one of the Safari drivers was killed-the African from Uganda.
While Mom and Dad were plotting ways to spend my inheritance I stayed at home with my buddy. I felt pretty good about not losing much on this shopping trip because after all I lived in Africa-yeah right! Well things must have gone as planned because soon they made it home in time for lunch.
We went by to see one of our friends who was in the hospital and ended up taking his mom back to her house. Just exactly why Dad was going to the G.A. (girls in action)-Father banquet I am not sure. Perhaps the time has come for my folks to fess up about my sister?? Actually Dad was most likely speaking at the shindig and offered to give a ride to those who needed it.
This year the Safari ran right by our house so we had ringside seats for the proceedings. Check out some of the driving techniques in the link to rallying I have included. You can easily see why on bad roads, in the rain, at high rates of speed, people would be apt to die.
March 27, 2008
Tuesday March 27th, 1979
This morning M.G. and I worked out at the assembly kitchen cutting up our meat. We had 42 pounds of sausage, 5 roasts, 2 packages of ribs, and several packages of pork chops. We stopped at 10:30 and went for an hour of Swahili. After lunch M.G. went for another hour, but I stayed here and put our sausage in the deep freeze. At 4:30 we left to go to R.V.A. We took a picnic supper. I didn’t take much though because I didn’t know soon enough before going plus I was busy with the meat. Paul Cooley ate with us. We watched Ken and the others practice Rugby. Ken was behind most of them with his running. We brought his weight lifting equipment home with us and some of his clothes. We had Bible study at the Bodenhamer’s tonight. M.G. taught it.
In 79 we could no longer hunt and knowing my fondness for bacon Mom and Dad had to kill the fatted pig to feed my habit. Not exactly, we had just bought a hog and were getting the meat ready for the freezer. While we did not slaughter the beast one of Dad’s many talents included butchering. With Mom at his side they made fast work of this swine.
Perhaps the lesson that is understated but repeated throughout these posts is the necessity to just keep on keeping on. The year is 1979 and Mom and Dad both have been out of language school for several years yet they continued to study the mother tongue of Kenya in order to better communicate God’s love.
Had I known Mom and Dad were coming up for a picnic supper I would have at least tried to make a better showing at rugby practice? However, Mom was right when she described my running prowess. I can do the 40 in about 4.2…days that is! Recently we had a pro-timing day at UT. I saw them measuring the prospective player’s vertical jump and was amazed at some leaps that measured almost 42 inches. Spurred on by these examples I decided to measure my own aptitude. I will not bore you with the details but I am living proof of the statement that “white men can’t jump”. The players that were watching my efforts said that I had better stick to my day job. Oh well, I bet when they are in the pros and need someone to fix their computer they won’t be laughing quit so hard.
March 26, 2008
Friday March 26th, 1976
This morning Robert made doughnuts for the Tigoni primary school. He came in about 12:15. M.G. and I went over there about 10 o’clock to make his pictures. M.G. made a trip to Limuru to get some lumber for the Mahinga church. Later in the morning M.G. and Gene Meachum worked on Gene’s car. I washed clothes most of the morning. This afternoon M.G. and I went to Kijabe to get Tim Laffoon’s passport that he forgot and left there. We were lucky to find one of the Barnett men who helped us in. This afternoon Dallas and Margie came out for coffee. Ken has gotten involved in projects already today.
Robert the entrepreneur was at the bakery shop again today. He really turned this into a cottage industry once his name and talents became known. Once he left our employ he worked at several 3-4 star hotels in Nairobi as their head chef. I guess he used the pictures Dad took for his promotional literature.
Dad got a chance to work on another car today. I spoke with him at lunch last week and he mentioned that it was not until I started doing this blog that he realized just how much stuff he had worked on in Kenya. I was sorry to tell him that the statue of limitations was out vis-à-vis any remuneration from this labor. He then shamed me by telling me that he considered himself well paid by the friendships formed.
They got Tim Laffoon taken care of and then took a break with friends for coffee. I don’t know what projects I had gotten involved in but I probably did so to avoid having to do any of the car mechanic work. I know that you put gas and oil in cars and that every so often you must change one and fill the other but that about sums up my auto experience.
March 25, 2008
Monday March 25th, 1974
This morning I went to Mr. Allen’s class. I was very tired after being up so late last night. After lunch M.G., Betty Cummins, and I went into town to order the Asian food for tomorrow night. I bought a light for my sewing machine. The clerk insisted that it was not used, but it definitely looked used. It cost 9 shillings and 10 cents. After supper we went over to Harold and Betty’s house for me to borrow a “sari” for tomorrow night. Also, M.G. wanted to ask him about a generator for using during the safari that he has been asked to help with during the Easter holidays.
Mom and Dad had stayed up late the night before to listen for Charlie on the ham. This is why Mom was so tired. It was not because Mr. Allen’s Swahili class was so boring. The folks were getting the Asian food for a party the next night. Thankfully for us kids we were able to eat at home.
Purchasing items in Kenya used to be quite an experience. Let us just say that customer satisfaction was not high on the priority list for most vendors. But I can’t blame them because I can remember once or twice playing practical jokes on the hardware store because English was a 2nd language. I had asked for a left-handed screwdriver and spent the better part of the morning rejecting each tool the shopkeeper showed me. Perhaps the sewing machine man had met one too many missionary kids!
The safari that Dad helped with was the East African Safari.(See picture above) This is a grueling race over the worst roads the country has to offer, and also the vehicle must check in at certain times along the track. Dad manned the last check-in station before the finish line. By the time most of the cars got to our check point they were pretty battered up, and were glad to be headed to the finish line.